The Jockey Club owns 15 racecourses, three of which feature in a recently announced £1m bonus scheme. Any horse who wins the Betfair Chase (Haydock), The King George VI Steeplechase (Kempton), and the Cheltenham Gold Cup this season will land the big bonus.
Few horses are likely to try to win all three, and even fewer are capable. Vautour, a horse I believe to be a potential superstar, is unlikely to go to Haydock according to his trainer Willie Mullins, although the owners, the Riccis, might be tempted by the challenge alone (they don’t need the prize money). But Mullins campaigns his top horses very carefully, and if he is against running in the Betfair, I suspect the horse will not turn up.
The current Cheltenham Gold Cup holder Coneygree is unlikely to run in the Betfair. Sara Bradstock, the trainer’s wife said, “I don’t particularly think the Haydock race will suit our fellow as the fences are small and the track’s a bit tight.”
Paul Nicholls says he’d be happy to run Silviniaco Conti in all three legs, but has serious doubts about the horse reproducing his best form at Cheltenham.
But Gordon Elliott said yesterday he would ‘certainly consider’ aiming Don Cossack at the three races. The big brown gelding tore through the back end of last season ending up top rated steeplechaser by the BHA, Raceform and Timeform. He’s won 8 of his 14 steeplechases and was considered by some to be unlucky in the Ryanair for which he started favourite and finished third. He went on to record highly impressive victories at Aintree and Punchestown, proving his stamina in the latter.
If all goes well with the contenders between now and March, the best quality field for decades will walk to the tapes for the start of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Don Cossack has a real chance of lining up with victories in the first two legs of the bonus treble already under his girth, and 40/1 carries lots of appeal, especially as he makes his seasonal debut tomorrow at Punchestown, where he will go off at very short odds.
Just in case Vautour turns up at Haydock, I’ve also taken 16/1 ‘any horse’ to win the treble. The Gold Cup will be a fierce challenge, but with these two bets, you could easily end up in a position to lay and make a profit.
Good luck, and remember, ante-post betting is a risky business. They need to stay sound throughout the season, and they need to turn up or your money is lost. But 40s Don Cossack (Betfred) and 16s any horse (Paddy Power and Betvictor) for this treble, are my first top value recommendations of the new season.